In certain situations, large-capacity ammunition clips are necessary

Letter writer Jonathan Reidy quoted my testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee out of context ("High-capacity magazines mean more stray bullets," Feb. 11). I would like to correct the record.

I told the committee that magazine capacity was a matter of personal choice regarding my ability to protect myself and my family. We are currently limited to 20-round magazines in Maryland, yet only the law-abiding are likely to follow that restriction.

After my testimony was complete, one of the senators asked me if I thought fully automatic weapons were OK on the street. I said no. He asked me about the 1934 machine gun ban, which I pointed out was not relevant to SB 281. I went on to say that as part of my own weekly target practice we sometimes practice under duress scenarios, and that in one such exercise I only hit the target (a 6-inch circle) with four of the 10 rounds I fired.

I also said that I would prefer a 12- or 14-round magazine if I were attacked by a group of individuals, and it was in that context I was talking about handguns — not rifles — for which I believe we should continue to be able to use 20-round magazines.

The letter writer relied on an abbreviated quote in The Sun, then concluded, without actually hearing my testimony, that I must have been talking about being in a crowded theater, classroom or store.

When I testified that day it had already become clear to me that several members of the committee were completely ignorant of the mechanics or attributes of the firearms they are seeking to ban. Worse, there was intentional distortion by some of the Maryland employees who testified and there were false statements made by some of the committee members, either intentionally or unintentionally.

The cameras that were in the room were taken down and most of the press left following the testimony of the first panel, which included the governor and other high-ranking state officials.

As the reader from Towson points out, even expertly trained police officers do not hit their targets 100 percent of the time. Virtually all departments choose to use rifle ammunition magazines larger than ordinary citizens can purchase in Maryland today.

Some on the committee stated mistakenly they think the guns and magazines they are attempting to ban can spew hundreds of rounds in seconds. Committee Chairman Brian Frosh made comments that were completely inaccurate in this regard. The Baltimore County state's attorney went down the same inaccurate path.

Most Marylanders are not able to exercise their Second Amendment rights to carry firearms outside their homes. I am fortunate to be one of the few that can carry a concealed firearm. As an NRA-certified pistol instructor who practices weekly I am certain Mr. Reidy would welcome someone like myself if he ever found himself in an unfortunate situation.

Put criminals who assault or murder people in jail for a long time regardless of the weapons they use. No plea-bargains, no deals, no early release. Predictable, consistent incarceration will help begin to rid our streets of the violent criminals who won't be obeying the more restrictive gun laws anyway.

Sonia Mangum

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